The Internet or the World Wide Web began with the ARPANET technology in the 1970s (general knowledge needs no citation).  Through this technology many innovations have sprung, creativity flourished, knowledge expanded and individuals in every part of the world were able to communicate – unrestricted by any legislation in a geopolitical system (blogger’s opinion, check with Turn It In for indicators of plagiariasm).

End-users, producers, web developers and everyone has benefited with technology (blogger’s gut feel, can be substantiated by others’ observation), without a cybercrime law institutionalized. Netizens operate under private individual – private business agreements (check any Wiki if you need citation, this is the blogger’s educated guess). Users were not inhibited to present themselves as private individuals in a public domain.

Domains are owned by the website operators – private companies, organizations and individuals who have business  or public service interests. They depend on the traffic flow which refers to the number of users accessing the sites. From the user’s traffic, they gain profit directly or indirectly through shares and advertisements. The more traffic they get over time, the higher the company’s net worth becomes.

With a cybercrime law in effect (not necessarily in the Philippines, because the law is not limited to this country alone), when the provisions are rather broad and terms are not specific, and when its provisions contradict the basic right to freedom of expression, netizens within a geopolitical system become restrained. They are prevented in one way or another to exercise their right using information communication technology.  That itself interferes in the natural system of communication for digital natives in the virtual world. (the rest of the paragraph are the blogger’s opinion, no malicious intent, but mere critical thinking)

If the latter is an acceptable truth, then the law itself must be punished by its own letters, for it caused system interference. Systems in the virtual world are creations of private individuals, corporations and businesses, worldwide. The system is composed of nodes that communicate freely, and actively. (Check the Internet Traffic for this)  Does a country’s legislative mandate cover the whole world, when it strikes on the World Wide Web? Is there anything higher than the statutory law?  (these are products of the blogger’s critical thinking, like many other political individuals jailed their minds were never imprisoned).

Freedom is essential in a democracy. In a democratic environment where freedom resides, reasoning flourish and the society gains from it. Freedom is not absolute, like one can not steal anything from another. Taking someone’s ideas and making it one’s own is plagiarism, but plagiarism is not like that of stealing . Plagiarism is a rather moral issue, only law of conscientiousness and the value for individual integrity can pacify it. Fact, (general truth) even with Intellectual Property Rights Law, plagiarism has been rampant, not only in the academe, in the business industry, but even in politics.

Thinking again, the blogger of this site could not blog so well (blogger’s opinion, needs no citation), because of the law and not because of his passion to blog. Picture is taken from the net from PIFA which freely gives the rights to anyone to post it and repost it. By the way, the Internet does not only operate with copyright protection, there are many other resources operating on Copyleft system (from IEEE, 2010 conference). The blogger apologizes for the inconvenience of using parenthetical notes, when in fact, mostly everything included in this post were his ideas which are product of critical and free thinking. Should he be in jail for any malicious interpretation of any reader, please visit him sometimes.

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Instantaneous responses of online users to an object of attention in the Internet can make that material viral and so help the source achieve its intent –  hits for virtual stardom.This aim is not easy to achieve. Network metrics are now available to monitor which are potentially viral for corporations to plug in advertisements.

The Internet as a communication platform allows for any user with access to available free or paid applications to create, upload, download, post and share videos, photographs, texts, music and other programs. What we find now online are various displays that appeal to our multiple senses. Everything is seeking attention, in any form measured in terms of hits, views, reads, likes and shares.

The web is an interconnected network of information. When users connect and access any information in the Internet, others will surely know that behavior. With cloud networking technology, virtual platforms or websites have advanced into a more interactive social community. Business entities have interest on these online sites to connect to the users and market their products.

Consider Youtube, blog sites, and Facebook. In YouTube users can take advantage of its utilities and people can comment and share the videos to anyone else. In Facebook, advertisements are placed on the sidebars of your wall, and with those people or organizations you subscribe to. Sometimes, you will receive notifications of advertisements from your friends, and your friends are using them as well to market their own products. There are bloggers too who write for advertisements, just pay attention to the links and pop-ups aside from the obvious display ads in their site.

The Internet is a hyperreal market, where the users are potential consumers. There the demand for information is heightened by the frequency and the adjunct elements of interest in the displayed attention object. Value to the display object is added when attention is put to it. More views, more shares, more likes, more comments, more backlinks means more hits.  Those make the source an instant online star, and business wise could earn a lot from it.

 

Passing the Virus On

Instantaneous reactions result from our immediate perception of the display object. “Awesome”, “This gave me goosebumps”,  “Nice”, “good”, “OMG”, “WTF is this?”, “Darn”, “That’s not true”. Those are several of the comments tagged to a viral photo, video, message that we could find in an online social network are public site. Whether we react positively or negatively to the object on display, our consequent response to “share” that.

Online, we still bring our human side as social individuals. We feel and react with and towards another. When we see that someone “liked” what we posted, our esteem is affirmed. When comments  go deeper to tell something about our character or personality, our identity is validated, so we try to sustain such behavior. If we do not get any response from others, we tend to find ways to get their attention with another post, shout out or anything we could share.

Because we are social individuals we share. Since sharing is free, uninhibited and unregulated in a social network and in most interactive sites, we immediately click the like buttons or the share buttons. This reaction is instantaneous. Most often, we do not think and rethink of the consequences our online behavior could have on others. We are not much aware that we make an online display object viral by that instantaneous response.

Then after awhile we realize that we were so ignorant and irresponsible of our actions. That we merely followed bandwagon even if we did not know where it came from and where it is really going. We justify our actions as correct because we know others did the same thing. It is always easier for us to just get along what others are doing, but rarely do we pause and think about what we were doing.

The Internet is a potential source for anyone to make a name for his/her self. It is a potent media to lash on other people. It is an easy source to spread information or any display object like a virus. However, we need to know the source of the information or the material we are sharing, and also their intention, before we make our little individual online space a node to transmit that to our network members. While everyone seems to be interconnected online, we have to be more responsible.

 

Caught by the Virus

More and more people are getting online. With Wireless Broadband technology more accessible, and mobile communications getting cheaper and more adaptive for online usage, the web has more users connected to a network.

There are two posts in this blog, which I have earlier written, one about a campaign in Facebook dubbed as “invasion of memories” that went viral, and another is on “scampaigns” or “scare” messages that had many panicking about the nuclear radiation coming from Japan when it was hit by a tsunami. However, just recently while I was not busy replying to emails, comments on my blogs or shout outs, I have suspicions as well as criticisms to two videos being shared in my social network.

Malicious Dadalicious – The first video is about how to have a Benilde Accent“. This came infuriating and insulting to many students and faculty members of the school. In this video uploaded in Youtube, a girl named “Dadalicious” tried to tell her story of encountering a student from the said school, whom she despised because of her accent which the girl described as pretentious and characterizing that of Captain Hook’s. She probably wanted to make a funny video and create a name for herself, but she was irresponsible to name a specific school and even identified her friend’s name.

The students from the said school are active online users, and so some of their teachers too. Affected by the video, their instant response was to comment about it, and post their comment in their own Facebook walls. In 24 hours, it had 8,967 visits in YouTube, including my two visits. How this got to a Benildean’s attention must be intentional, if not a curious user must be searching about “Benilde” and unhappily stumbled on this video. Only one graduate of the same school directly replied to it using the same technology.

The video content as per its message was offensive to some, but only one Benildean replied in a video format, while others kept on sharing the said video. Now in this case, the affected ones (offended or not, having the purported accent or not) or just the concerned members of the school’s community are contributing their share by keeping the “link” in their walls. They are making Dadalicious, whose intent was malicious, rise to infamy.

What made this video “viral” though it really is not as per social network metrics, is that it appeals to the emotion with a particular bad taste. It is is insulting and outright directly hitting on some group of individuals. Naming the student or the school are offensive tactics to get some response, practically when it is making a faulty generalization by stereotyping the whole for an impression about a single individual. It was rude, unethical and irresponsible, but since the degree of offense is not immediately obvious to an online user, it stirs curiosity.

Random Girl Video – Another video on YouTube is getting a plenty of hits, likes and shares over Facebook. This video shows a girl singing in videoke at a certain mall. Indeed she has a beautiful voice. The video as of the time of this posting has 373,585 views. Behaving like the others in my network, I checked the link from their wall, because it has been frequently appearing and the video is getting “nice” reviews. But, I reserve some suspicions.

Why would a talented individual keep her face off the screen, like keeping her voice to be heard by everyone else? When this girl has that beautiful voice, she should have auditioned in the proper venues? Is it just because, the video was taken by some random person who happened to like the way she sings and caught it and uploaded it without her knowledge? Does she want to be a sensational hit over the Internet or just happened to be unsuspecting of the said video? There are a plenty of questions as to the intent of displaying the video.

The elements of surprise and mystery are in that video. The voice was brilliant but had no face in it. Anonymity made users more curious to know about the “random girl” and to hear her voice. However, in the same video the name of the “random girl” appears. If you search her name in Facebook, you will find a fan page where you can subscribe. If I am not mistaken access in altering or adding any content to the video is restricted for the owner of the video only. The owner of this video was able to identify the “voice” and his video was a hit. The elements to get the attention of an audience “hungry” for objects of attention were just right there to get such number of views.

It must be sheer surprise for the source of this video to capture it and upload it in YouTube. So far, he has uploaded 137 videos in the site, but only this video has gotten that huge number of views within one week. That video has helped the “random girl” get the attention of online users, that it was even supported Yahoo Philppines SHE.

 

Display and Attention

Sources of any display online are there for the users attention. They want comments, likes, views, reviews, shares. Advertisers prey on users’ creations shared online, and they are out there vigilantly monitoring the behavior of the online users. They are in the lookout for what is hitting the meters that measure audience share and responses. Those who gets the right number of hits become an instant star.

Traditional media like the television, radio and print are also capitalizing on the potentials of the social media. In some news nowadays, their source of information and materials are those posted online. They are also in the lookout for trends in the Internet and they broadcast this in their news reports. Likewise, online writers, bloggers and copywriters are also immersed in wave of information transferred over the Internet.

The primary reason of display is to get attention. However, online users have selective responses and filters towards materials on display. Despite their possible instantaneous affects, they also have values to make judgments and decisions.  Online users, the active and more so the inactive, would like to be updated, and they have to that tendency to the ride the waves of attention poured into a specific displayed object. The users’ behavior are affected by the many other elements in front of their screen and so with the task they are doing by that time.

So, it becomes more probable that online users tend to take actions that they regret later on. Hitting the keys and clicking the mouse are really easy, being more responsible doesn’t operate that way regarding our online behavior. We need to be responsible with what we share online, as we do not have the control of who can get this and how they will use it, and in most cases, links provide permanence to what we post online.


Photo by Erik de Castro/Reuters

The question is a familiar one which Vladimir Lenin asked about the people’s revolution, which laid the grounds and framework to pursue the proletarian cause of establishing a people’s state that holds the mode of production against capitalism. The question is rhetorical and indeed an intelligent one that emphasizes taking control of the situation. The same applies in the critical examination of the people’s actions towards natural disasters.

After a few days of continuous rain, the monsoon rains devastated Luzon with floods and landslides. Now, the water has subsided in most areas, and this is not the first time that the country has experienced massive destruction – inundation to some others. The heavy rains and flooding put the Philippine’s disaster risk reduction management centers into test, that came more urgent when Ondoy flooded Metro Manila and adjacent provinces in 2009.  It also tested, the effectiveness of the government’s project NOAH or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard just recently in placed.

While households pick up the fragments of what is left  in the floodwater, it is but high time to put forward solutions from the littlest things individuals could do and communities could contribute, and the systematic efforts institutions both private and public could share.  Nobody wants to be submerged under water. Nobody wants to starve under a disaster. Nobody wants to lose a family member. Nobody wants to see a house torn by the raging floodwater.

Everyone needs safety and security. Hence, disaster risk reduction and management are vital to everyone.  This has to take into consideration that the country is no more dealing with the usual type of disaster. The weather system has significantly changed. More volume of rains are expected, massive expanse of flooding in low lying areas, higher sea levels, greater winds, stronger quakes. Meteorological and geological statistics would tell that one natural event is like trying to beat another in the past.

A government spokesperson from project NOAH, said it best that disaster risks are higher because people are there. This does not mean that people should perish, but when people are in the middle of a disaster and are not being able to manage the situation well, the risks are higher. A disaster is a calamity man-made or natural. Risks include undesirable implications, to health, security, livelihood, properties and to life itself.  Weather disturbances can be disastrous due to lack of preparation, untoward behavior towards risks and poor response to the situation. However, nature is nature; people need to learn its behavior in order to respond to it appropriately.

The problem is bigger than the flood

Climate change is a bigger thing to consider in the disaster risk reduction and management systems. In both, everyone has something to learn and contribute. Everyone includes the individual in the community, the private and government sectors and the civil society. Climate change is an integral factor that explains why disasters get worst and more expansive. Whatever effort, in disaster risk reduction and management  is unlikely to succeed, if they fail to recognize the impact of climate change.

The fact cannot be zeroed out from the vocabulary of human society’s survival. Science may be politicized, information can be distorted, but the reality is everyone in the world has become vulnerable to the risks of having extreme weather. The Philippines had only monsoon rains, not a typhoon like Ondoy, but that extreme behavior of nature caught the country unexpecting of devastation it brought to Luzon.

Resolving the problem, that people caused the environment for them to suffer the consequences brought about by climate change, can not be completed in a day, or even in a century. Generations upon generations will meet the increasing wrath of natural disasters, until global scale efforts are set in place. With climate change, the times people live now is the most uncertain. Scary, yes, but that is likelier to happen until genuine concern for life and sanctity of the natural environment become ingrained in the consciousness of every individual in this world.

Now the worst is not over yet. The flood waters have subsided, many people have suffered from it. What good thing this flood gave some people is a sense of commitment to care for the environment, to be responsible in their actions, and to considers some easy but helpful things not to add to the burgeoning climate change. These include not using plastic, properly throwing their trash, recycling and planting trees. These are contributions everyone can do, but the problem is greater than this.

As to the floods, experts see three contributing factors: poor flood control systems, obstructions in waterways, and forest degradation. Flooding is a perennial problem in the country, dating back to the early times when communities started to build permanent structures in the land, and even beyond it. Basic knowledge of ecology informs about the relations of  human actions to the environment in general, and that all elements in nature are interdependent.

Cut the trees from their roots, and that soil will be washed away by the rain. The rain water will just flow down the lowland for no roots suck it up eroding the mountain soil to cover up the lowland. The smudge will go to the rivers blocking the water flow, and will find its way to the houses nearby. Satisfy yourself with material things you would throw later on, and you build mountains of trash. To cover those waste, people rake earth from the mountains, and toxic spills to the ground, killing other life that used to keep the mountain green. Throw your waste anywhere and you’ll find them coming back to you with the floodwater.

Individuals can do their share in keeping an eco-friendly lifestyle. Every household can plant and keep a tree in the backyard. Household waste can be reduced and reused creatively. Use of electricity and vehicles can be minimized. Communities can organized campaigns to raise the awareness of the residents into a critical consciousness to proactively take actions towards keeping a greener environment. Businesses should be more responsible in putting up infrastructures taking a greener perspective into design and function. The government must ensure that environmental protection laws are implemented, and that disaster risk reduction and management becomes part of its priority.

The solutions to prevent flooding are tied to the solutions to solve the problem of climate change and so with urban development planning. They are not just a product of a single mind. It is a collaborative output, where everyone contributes. Disaster risk reduction and management at a grand scale must consider the changes in the climate while ensuring the protection of life and livelihood and the safety of everyone. Thus the effort to resolve the issue in flooding is multilateral – everyone has a share.


Over the flood the Filipino Spirit Rises.


August 7 is another big day in the Philippine’s 15th Congress, when the senators of this country will have to vote on passing the 2010 Consolidated Reproductive Health Bill, dubbed as the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Act. Passing the RH Bill now is the most intelligent contribution that the representative and solons of this government can leave the Filipino people – an affirmation of reproductive health as basic human right.

Antecedents

The first version of the bill was filed in 1999, since then the Philippine Congress representatives and the solons have their own version. Population Development and Health Care Policies in the country has long been promoted dating back to 40 years, but those failed to curtail fertility rate and population growth. The previous administrations have delegated these matters to several institutions such as the Department of Health, Department of Education and even established the Population Commission.

According to NSCB data, The Philippine population is steadily increasing, from the 1900 until 2000 at a rate of more than 2 percent per year. It was only in 2010 that the annual population rate decreased to 1.90%. Those households who have the biggest number tend to be those under the poverty line without having proper health education and medical support.  AFP reports that   “Between 2006 and 2010, the maternal mortality rate rose 36 percent to 221 deaths per 100,000 live births, from 162 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 2005, according to the government’s 2011 Family Health Survey”.  The Philippines rank 48 in terms of maternal deaths. This concerns the United Nations in its effort to help the Philippines reach its Milleneum Development Goals.

The largest portion of the Philippine population comprise the youth who need appropriate sex education and reproductive health care. Further the Department of Health reports that HIV/AIDS cases in the country is spiking, the number of affected youth is also on the rise. There are indicators that suggest poor knowledge due to misconceptions on reproductive health and the inavailability of protection are significant to the sexual behavior of young Filipinos that make them vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases.  The Church abhors the government move to make contraceptives like condom to be distributed free, because it fears that this provokes perversion even more.

In the same way, it is the Church battling against RH Bill, like how it lashed on earlier inititatives to manage the population, institionalize sex education and promote sexual health. The Church as a social institution has to do what it knows best to do, but it should not remain ignorant of the cause that the Reproductive Health Bill seeks to guarantee for the larger population. Indeed, the Catholic Church has a clout to 80% of the Philippine population, yet that should make the heads of the Church more conscious to advise the faithful with wisdom, and restrict its admonitions to the state.

While the rich and affluent citizens can afford to be attended by skilled health care providers, the poor and the marginalized do not have the means of having their reproductive health concerns attended to, because it is excluded in the national health insurance. Philhealth does not cover prenatal and post-natal care for mothers, neither do health insurances cover sexually transmitted illnesses. At the moment, companies need not be concerned of their employees reproductive health.  Legitimizing reproductive health as a basic human right receives strong contention not only from the Catholic Church, but also with the business industry because this compels the latter to be responsible for the reproductive health of everyone in their organization.

RH Bill Now!

The wisdom of RH Bill is that it legitimizes reproductive health as a universal right. That implies every Filipino especially the women are guaranteed the means to improve their health and quality of life. As it does, it has implications to one’s civil liberties while it guarantees non-discrimation to make reproductive health care available for everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

It is the state’s moral obligation to improve the quality of life of everyone. It is the Church’s moral obligation to guide the believers in living a conscientous life. It is consciountious to afford everyone access to maternal care, reproductive health education, and all the means to keep them safe in their life, that includes sex life. The bill does not encourage casual or indiscriminate sex, since that is within the autonomy of anyone.

The state can not infringe on individual liberty neither the Church should. It is a moral obligation of the state for the society to enjoy economic development. In managing the nation’s economy it is imperative that the people should be educated in its decision as to the household population and provided the knowledge and means to maintain social and physical health for the family.

Responsible parenting is emphasized in the reproductive health, without demanding, compelling or coercing parents as to the number of children, although the population development plan is to encourage keeping the number of children to two. This is based on several studies and templates that worked in many countries. The reproductive health bill does not speak of preventing parents to rear children. Hence, it is not about contraception.

RH Bill compels the government and businesses to make contraceptives and sexual health education available for everyone because these are means to ensure their reproductive health while they are knowledgeable of such. Contrary to the clergy’s logic about contraception, the use of such devices are responsible protective means for adults who can decide for themselves. Likewise, it does not encourage abortion. Instead, it affirms that Abortion is illegal.

Because the Church has a large influence to the Filipino people, the bill’s provision for accommodation of freedom of conscience and religion has divided the medical practitioners. When reproductive health is legitimized as a universal human right, access to contraceptives come with that, and medical practitioners have to denunce their right to freedom of conscience and religion in making that available for the patient, unless they can prove that will not do good for the patient.

Pass RH Bill 4424

It is ignorant not to consider passing the RH Bill now, and it pays to be knowledgeable about what really matters in the letters of the law. There is no other truth hidden behind the letters of the law, but the interpretation of the people. The general provision of RH 4244 in its declaration of policy is clear to extend and emphasize reproductive health as a basic right :

The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity.

Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.

The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.

The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights. (HB 4244, Sec. 2)

As a basic human right, access to reproductive health care, regardless of gender, sexuality orientation, economic status, is to be made available to everyone. It should not scare anyone that the Philippine population will be eradicated, thinking that passing the Bill is part of the grand scheme to summon forth the master race, that has no empirical basis. Indeed, the Philippines may not be overpopulated, but do consider that Filipinos nowadays, particularly those with higher education and those in the working middle class are keeping a smaller household.

The debate has been going on, and the delay has been for ten years. With this statistics are telling the same thing, and the quality of life of the Filipino may not have changed. No, RH Bill does not guarantee the improvement of the quality of life of the general population, it only establishes the legal frames in which access to reproductive health bill is assured for everyone as universal human right. While the specific provisions of the Bill are clear and supportive of its general provisions, and enumerable studies support the move to pass the bill, the debate is not about contraception, abortion, population extinction, but rather whether reproductive health should be recognize as unversal human right for the Filipino people.

August 7 is another historical day that Philippine legislators will have to make stand. The decision to pass RH Bill is much more important to every Filipino people and the next generation, than impeaching another government official. The Filipino voters should be mindful of the decisions the politicians of this congress will make and consider that in the upcoming election. Those who stand for the RH Bill speaks for all Filipinas and the Filipino people in general, those who thinks that the RH Bill is worthless are but ignorant and should be informed of the letters of the proposed law.

Other post on RH-Bill:

https://rodrigo75.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/beyond-contraception-or-abortion-passing-rh-bill-4424/


Since the 1960’s when the left movement in the Philippines started, the term “imperialist” point to the United States alone. This pertains to the American’s extension of political, economic and cultural influence over smaller undeveloped countries that depend on US financial aids and protection. The US was seen as an economic and political superpower, and it was blamed for the many issues and problems the Philippines has suffered, because imperialism kept the  country in neo-feudal state with the Philippine government as a loyal ally bootlicking the United States.

Uncle Sam has been figured as a great collaborator coercing other nations. With its military might it kept a grand alliance with great nations that polarized political power. Historically, it was able to show its powers over dicators, pacifist and other colonizers. Doing so, expanded its territorial influence, dividing the world economically to be conquered anew. All these, the United States did as guaranteed by its constitution and its great love for freedom and democracy, as a great advocate of sovereignity for all nations. To others, these are  a grand scheme to keep capitalism at the helm.

Liberalism is married to capitalism. The latter is understood on the other end as the evil that chains many other nations in the shuckles of poverty. The many and the worst problems of the world can be theoretically traced as well to be rooted in the curse of capitalism. Because capitalism exploits on liberalism, while the alternative to capitalism will take away some accustomed liberties in the society, contemporary politics see no point in the alternative. At the extreme, even the minute problem in the Philippines is immediately linked to US Imperialism.

Down to US Imperalism. That was the call before, and even until now, in lighting rallies that hit the streets from time to time. The Philippines is young republic. It has to learn and work interdependently with other great nations. Diplomatic ties, treaties, agreements are signed bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure the country’s economic and political stability. It happens often though, that in many of the agreements the Philippines got into, that country ends in win-lose situation. Who then should be blamed for this: colonial mentality, incompetence in argumentation, political consciousness, capitalism, hegemony, imperialism?

Recently, the Philippines is at a tension with China, and it is not only China, but also Japan and other countries in the southeast Asia. China has been building garrison, testing political waters to extend its territorial boundaries, heightening tension over disputed waters and claims. Since, China opened its doors to capitalism in the 1990’s, economic power has shifted and it has invaded the world with its cheap products, killing many other local businesses.

Think of any product, and sure there is a China made counterpart of that, available in the local market. Big brands from the US, UK, Canada, Japan and the countries of Europe have counterfeit versions from China.  Is this not a form of economic imperalism? Even the local brands in the Philippines have China-made versions, sold in a much lower price, but come in cheaper quality. Overprice and quality, the China-made products are an auspicious find for those in a tight budget. Countries shifted production in China, which gave it an opportunity for growth. After conquering the world economy China is going beyond the market.

The Chinese people are Filipinos’ cultural brethren. The ties built by the earlier Chinese tradesmen in the archipelago, from since prehistory, brought the Filipino Chinese Mestizo. These Chinoys residing in the country have adapted to the Philippine culture and they have been considered as part of the multcultural make-up of the country’s population. Most of them are wealthy businessmen, and the tycoons the country has. Economically, Chinese businessmen own many of the industries in the country, and Filipinos have learned to live with that.

Imperialism is a construct of political and economic powerplay. It is now more difficult to distinguish who the imperialist is when the eyes just look at one. Who is the imperialist now? Who’s allowing the imperalist to take its strides?


Hikers rely on maps, compasses and instinct that enable them to get to where they want to go. In a real mountain, there are no signage and arrows and welcome markers. Maps may not really be helpful when everything else in the mountain is just the trees. Compasses could only tell directional orientation. Hence, climbing mountains is best taken with someone else to guide you, lest you are a real adventurer on your own.

To succeed in climbing the mountain, you need to follow the trail as you need to know where you are going. The trail is the path you need to take to get where you want to go. This is the path which others have taken before, but there is not just a single way. Sometimes the path diverges somewhere, and sometimes it is not just there. There are times you would need to make your own path as you need to decide on which path to take when the trail diverges.

On the mountain, the trail varies from being flat, to going up and going down. Some are wide, others are just narrow. Those narrow pathways are the usually difficult ones which make you climb up and glide down. There are wooden bridges you need to cross to skip mud and water. On the trail you would walk on dirt, rocks and mud while you clear off the shrubs as you go through. When you are novice to the place, all you have to do is to be guided and to follow.

Aside from keeping yourself on the trail, you need to listen to what your guide is telling you. Remember that you are new to this thing and you are walking with someone who really knows the place to lead you to where you are really going. As thinking individual, you need to use your instinct, apply some common sense to everything that you will be told. I remember my guide telling me that I should jump, no not off the cliff, but jump to reduce my tiresome feeling. That doesn’t make sense to me, since my legs, body and lungs are all tired. I just stood and regulated my breathing instead.

He didn’t do the jumps, I never saw him did, although he would yodel or shout to release some stress. That I’d follow because it’s fun, relaxing and not so tiresome. Even though I was following someone who is expert in the terrain, somehow, I noticed that he would stop when the trails diverge, or when the trail seems to end somewhere. Instinct would guide him the directions, by looking at some landmarks, like the peak of the mountain, and the place below.

In the workplace, facing new challenges or working in a new area or environment, would require us to follow and be led. Yet, that does not mean you lose your senses of who you are and your environment. You can continue with the hike only with a trusted navigator to guide you, whom you should depend only as much. Only when you have really learned the course, then you can take the lead. You have to be responsible yourself, and remain aware of the track you are taking with someone else, and be sensitive too with him, as he would to your favour.

In our lives we grow up following the adults who have come to this world before us. They too have learned the many things in life from following others. Learning is a social activity where we tend to adapt to the situation by doing the things others are doing. It was my first time hiking. I keenly look at my guide’s steps as I admire his agility. I would try to mimic his moves, as much as I could. When I could not, I’ll do it on my own but still keeping in the track and getting to where we wanted to go.

We follow the one we trust for some reasons. It’s not because of age. It’s because of others’ wisdom and experience, and also of how they would look after us. My guide was more agile than I am, younger than my age, an expert on the trail we were taking. I was an explorer, an adventurer and a first timer. Yet, I trusted him, my life on that mountain, since my field is different. He could move faster than I am, but when I could not follow, he would stop and wait for me to be at paced with him.

Going down, when we were on the ground already, my guide asked me if I could locate the lodge I was staying. I did. Then he asked me to find the pathway amidst the rice fields. After some rest in village, he asked me to lead the way. I wondered, perhaps next time, I could take the lead in climbing that mountain with some friends, that’s if they would trust me out of my experience.

We are led for us to learn how to follow. We follow so we can lead next time. Leading and following are so intricately connected, and one does not become leader without a follower, the latter never becomes a leader without really learning how to follow well.